We are committed to engaging communities and harnessing the power of the justice system to address local problems and improve public safety.
The Center for Court created the first community court in 1993. Located a short walk from New York City’s Times Square, the Midtown Community Court works with people in the neighborhood to tailor creative responses to local concerns. Since then, we have worked to bring the idea of community justice to other New York City neighborhoods (Red Hook, Harlem, Brownsville, and others), and to jurisdictions around the world that are interested in reinvigorating public trust in justice, reducing the use of incarceration and forging new responses to minor offending. We have also helped launch the Community Court Grant Program, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance.
We have also worked to spread the idea of community justice beyond courts. For example, we have worked with prosecutors to encourage them to not only prosecute cases, but to solve public safety problems, prevent crime, and improve public trust in justice. Rather than simply tallying cases won and sentences imposed, prosecutors should measure the effect of their work on quality of life, community attitudes, and crime. To support such efforts, we work with local prosecutors and national experts such as the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and Fair and Just Prosecution.
Community Court Grant Program
The Community Court Grant Program seeks to support the creation, enhancement, and evaluation of community-focused courts across the country.
Bronx Community Solutions
Bronx Community Solutions applies a problem-solving approach to cases in the Bronx centralized criminal court, providing judges with community-based alternatives to jail and fines.
Brooklyn Young Adult Court
The Brooklyn Young Adult Court seeks to provide meaningful alternatives to conventional prosecution for young people, ages 18 to 24, charged with misdemeanors.
Brownsville Community Justice Center
The Brownsville Community Justice Center works to reduce crime and incarceration, and strengthen community trust in justice in central Brooklyn.
Harlem Community Justice Center
The Harlem Community Justice Center works to increase housing stability, engage young people in their community, and help individuals returning from prison transition home.
International Community Court Conferences
We host an international conference every two years dedicated to innovations in community justice. Our most recent event took place in Birmingham, Ala., in May 2018.
Check back for information about our 2020 community justice conference!
Mentor Community Courts
These community courts enhance assistance provided by the Center for Court Innovation by serving as regional resources for jurisdictions looking to implement similar community justice initiatives.
Midtown Community Court
The Midtown Community Court is one of the country's first problem-solving courts. It provides alternatives to fines and jail as a response to low-level crime.
Newark Community Solutions
Newark Community Solutions applies a problem-solving approach to low-level cases in Newark, New Jersey’s municipal courthouse.
Red Hook Community Justice Center
The nation's first multi-jurisdictional community court, the Red Hook Community Justice Center seeks to solve neighborhood problems in southwest Brooklyn.
Highlights from a public screening and panel discussion of Bill Moyers's 'Rikers: An American Jail,' moderated by New Thinking host, Matt Watkins. Commenting on the film and the future of criminal justice reform are Tina Luongo of the Legal Aid Society, Jill Harris of the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office, and two of the people formerly held on Rikers featured in the film: Barry Campbell of the Fortune Society, and Johnny Perez of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.
Written by Greg Berman, director of the Center for Court Innovation, and Julian Adler, director of policy and research, Start Here from the New Press offers a road map of concrete actions to reduce the number of people sent to jail and prison, highlighting key lessons from successful programs across the country.
The Red Hook Community Justice Center has become an international model of justice reform by implementing innovative strategies that have reduced the use of jail, lowered recidivism and strengthened public confidence in justice. This short film about the Justice Center produced by the Center for Court Innovation was selected as a 2016 finalist in the TV/Video category of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency's Media for A Just Society Awards.
We all know what's wrong with the criminal justice system (fairness and humanity are often in short supply). Drawing from our work, our director, Greg Berman, describes some community-based solutions—like violence interruption, trauma-informed care for the justice-involved, and social workers rather than bail or detention pretrial—that are already making a difference.